When No Vendor Replies

While continuing from yesterday’s article on e-mail correspondence, this article will be about instances when vendors never do respond to your e-mails to them. In particular, vendors that refuse to respond after you have paid for one of their products that you never received.

In the first article, we discussed how e-mail might be written to such a vendor while maintaining courtesy and professionalism instead of over aggressiveness and anger. Now, let’s pretend an order you placed is long overdue. It has not been delivered and the time frame is now over two weeks, without any response back from the company. This is a situation that is very problematic in that you want to refrain from being polite. You just want to simply let the seller know that you have run out of choices and waiting is no longer an option. What should you do? How should you inform the seller that there are things now that you must do because the vendor has clearly left you trapped?

In the last article, we assumed you paid by credit card. There are different payment methods a consumer can use. Certainly, paying by check or cash are poor ways to handle purchases from certain companies. If you do so, you may never see a refund with this type of transaction. Credit card payment is by far the safest way to pay either online or by phone. It is a secure way of retrieving any lost money due to neglect on the vendor’s part.

Determining first whether the recipient has even read your e-mails is essential. One way to ensure this is to send a return receipt message. Most e-mail clients have this functionality included with their application. Once an e-mail is opened, a message is sent back to you saying that it has been received. We can only make the assumption that it was also read. You also need to make sure that you have backed up all correspondence. This is necessary to prove that you have attempted to determine any problems that may have existed on the “other end” and that you have been responsible and reasonable. You may need this information later to present to your credit card company if no other means is available. The average waiting time for such an inquiry to your credit card company is usually thirty days. If you are facing a situation like this, it is prudent to contact them about your situation.

During your wait, you have attempted to contact the vendor again by phone (while recording any messages that may have transpired by writing down what was said) and you have copies of all e-mail correspondences. What is in your e-mails is significant and this will be the focus of the rest of this article.

Here is a possible sample of an e-mail that might be written when all other attempts have failed. In such a letter, it is often wise to make them aware of the firm intentions you have, but also always leaving a door open for communication:


This letter is being written to establish some conditions that I must now include because of your lack of response to all of my preceding inquires. To be sure, I have attempted contacting you by phone twice. I have sent three e-mails over the span of two weeks. I have been patient regarding the sale of a purchase I made with you on (insert date of order), but have not yet received. Since I believe you have already received and read my e-mails, I must believe that the possibility of you ignoring them is real. I have written down the entirety of our phone conversations and have copies of all e-mail correspondence with you. Yet still, you do not reply. It is now going on three weeks and the product I purchased has not been delivered. Therefore, it is in my best judgment to either receive a charge back to my credit card for the amount paid or a reason why you have not communicated back to me. I believe a reasonable period of time to wait for your reply to this matter is three days, after which I will have no choice but to turn this matter over to my credit card company, who will initiate an investigation into the aforementioned affairs.

I am interested in only doing what is right, and my desire is not to see this matter go any further than between ourselves. I will look forward to your response within the next three days in the hope we can resolve this incident.

Here, we have defined what has happened, parameters you have set and a reasonable waiting time to find a solution. You were respectful, but firm. You let them know up front that conditions were imposed and you have given them a reasonable amount of time to reply. If at the end of three days, you have not heard back from the vendor, you must do exactly what you stated you would do under the circumstances. You might even forward the correspondence you had with your credit card company (if they agree) to let the vendor know you were prompt in carrying out your objectives. This still allows the vendor a last opportunity to correct the situation.

We know that most companies are in business to make money and most are dependable. Unfortunately, there are a few that are unscrupulous and take advantage of a customer’s good heartedness. It is always in the customer’s best interests not to lose his integrity, but to be respectful while always permitting the company one last chance.

~ Stu Kopelman